2018! What a year it has been. I’ve not done much in the way of blogging since we returned to the U.K. between catching up with family, friends, Christmas and parties 🎉 we’ve not had much time for anything else and we have loved that!
I would like to do a little end of year post though, as it’s been such a life changing year. So much has happened and I want to thank everyone who has been there along the way.
As family and friends know and people who may have followed our blog from the early days, our year did not go to plan at all.
We started out with a set plan. Mel had dreamed of doing his cycle touring for a long time. He had this planned long before we ever met and I wanted him to do it and wouldn’t ever get in the way. I wanted to travel the world but I wasn’t in the position to do so at the time we met.
So I continued to work and save and Mel set off on his adventure. I would go and work at Camp Lake Hubert in Minnesota for the summer, save some more money while Mel cycled Europe and America and then we where going to meet in August in Vegas and get married. Then travel together.
We had planned this out somewhat but our wedding was just going to be spontaneous and fun and we loved the idea of that. After losing my Dad back in 2016 I really didn’t want a big wedding, or even a wedding at all until I met Mel. I knew I would love to marry him and so Vegas seemed perfect as we would both be there anyway.
However when we met for a weekend in Minneapolis, we had been given the devastating news that Mels beautiful sister Kerri had fallen ill, then the news of her passing. This was very unexpected and heartbreaking. It’s just a good job (in the worst situation) that we happened to be together at the time of the news so Mel was not alone.
So with this news we both flew straight home. It was a devastating time for his family. They are the strongest people I know and how they pulled together in such a tough time is remarkable.
His parents told us that we had to carry on. The wedding should still go on. We still needed to see the world. It’s what Kerri would have wanted.
It was. What’s Kerri would want. She had secretly booked to come to Vegas to be with us on our wedding day. She was so incredibly happy for us and she would call me her sister all the time. Her two young children called me Aunty Jen straight away and we love them dearly. She adored her brother and was very excited about his travel plans.
So we decided to cycle together. We would do it to raise money for diabetes U.K. a charity Kerri was involved with and the illness that contributed to her death. we raised over £1000 in our first few weeks cycling and we just want to thank everyone again who donated ♥️
We had the full support of Mels family and they would come to Vegas when we got there. So we planned out route depending on where we could get the cheapest flight from and that was Munich and so Mel got out his map and planned out route from Venice to Munich. Venice being the cheapest place to fly to from the U.K. with the bikes.
And that’s when our journey together began and with all the heartbreak and loss we had experienced in the last few years, I think it was just what we needed and the right thing to do.
We cycled across countries, camped all over Europe, slept beside Austrian lakes, made lots of new friends while putting out our blog. Friends who we will be in contact with for life! The twitter travel community is amazing (even though I still don’t really get twitter). We have met up with online friends like Gemma and Campbell from Highlands2Hammocks. We hope to meet up with many more in the future. Thank you for all your kind words and advice along the way!
We flew back to America, they are probably starting get suspicious of our back and forth 😂 our little shot gun wedding turned out absolutely perfect for us. We had family and friends fly out and what we worried could be a very hard day for us all was actually lovely. Kept light hearted and fun by the the minister, who was quite clearly the Elvis interpreter… we just didn’t pay the extra $200 for the white suit and voice!
We backpacked across California and made even more friends and had one success after another when it came to Couchsurfing! The beauty of Couchsurfing.
We saw 2 blue whales, 12 humpbacks and 24 dolphins in Monterey Bay.
We flew to Japan and had the most incredible three weeks. We really loved Japan and it remains one of our favourite places in the world so far. We loved every second there and it must show as I received some Japanese style bowls, chop sticks and matts for Christmas from my lovely in laws. We felt the backlash of a typhoon that had me wanting to pack it all in but the next day it was like it had never happened. So many experiences.
We travelled around South East Asia. Fell in love with the food and I decided to become a vegetarian. We met a lovely couple, who we bumped into on 4 separate occasions in Vietnam, Cambodia and Koh Lipe. Went to the highlands. Played with elephants, watched them in the wild, stepped over poisonous snakes, watched millions of bats fly through the night sky, visited temples, trekked through jungles, made a lovely friend from Minnesota, had a whole week lazing on a beach, ended up staying in a condo in Singapore with a family friend and having the best time, stayed in luxury apartments in KL for the same price as one cocktail in Singapore. Roof tops bars, roof top pools…. we did so much! I reconnected with the creative side and did lots of drawing and writing ✍️
And after the most exciting 6 months of our lives we flew home to surprise our family’s for Christmas. This is something we had planned all along. It was so nice being home for Christmas and we really want to thank both our families for all the support and well wishes we have had along the way ♥️ we love you all very much! being with our little niece and nephew on Christmas Day meant the world to us.
We had an amazing party with our friends recently and in the morning after a long night I heard my phone ring and I bolted up as we had been excepting a call about a job. A job we really really wanted and it was them … offering us the job for 2019 so we are super happy about that and are very much looking forward to another move. Closer to home but in one of the most beautiful parts of the U.K. in the world even 🤗
So A very very happy new year to you all! What this year has taught us is that wonderful things can happen. Even in the midst of sorrow. Always keep dreaming and follow those dreams!
Happy travels 💕